Like most sane people, one of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. So many wonderful moments, so many unforgettable quotes. (I mean, who doesn’t go to a wedding, silently mouthing “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is wot bwings us togevver today…”)
One of the perhaps lesser known parts of the movie has recently become one of my favorites. It’s probably two thirds of the way through the movie. Westley has bested the Spaniard, the Giant, and Vezzini. He and Buttercup have navigated the treacherous fire swamp. Westley is lying on a table, literally having the life sucked out of him while Buttercup prepares to marry Humperdink then commit suicide. Meanwhile, Inigo is lying inebriated in a literal gutter.
Inigo: I am waiting for you, Vizzini. You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have. This is where I am, and this is where I will stay. I will not be moved.
Assistant Brute: Ho there!
Inigo: I do not budge. Keep your “Ho there”.
Assistant Brute: But the prince gave orders.
Inigo: Draws sword. So did Vizzini. When the job went wrong you went back to the beginning. Well, this is where we got the job, so this is the beginning. And I am staying till Vizzini comes.
While I don’t condone the abuse of alcohol when one screws up, Inigo makes a valid point. When things go wrong, go back to the beginning. When my room gets out of control, go back to the beginning. Take everything out and put it all back in order. When a computer has too many viruses and malware, go back to the beginning. (i.e. reinstall the OS etc.) When I sin and wander away from the God I love, go back to the beginning.
Paul wrote a letter to the church at Ephesus, commending their faithfulness. As usual, he writes encouragement to them and clears up some issues they were having. A while later, we read in Revelation written by John, this:
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”
You were doing so well, Ephesians. What happened to the love you had for God? Repent and GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING.
I was recently afforded the privilege of seeing a friend “go back to the beginning.” Though raised in a Christian home, he had long since walked away from whatever faith he had as a child. But God has bigger plans for him. Things had gone wrong… but he went back to the beginning. And as awesome as it has been to see such a major event take place in his life, the principle is something that I think should be embraced by all of us, daily. You see, I screw up daily. Some days are “worse” than others. But it’s true. I say something I ought not to say, or think it at least. I do something I shouldn’t. I lose the love that I had for God an hour, a week, years before. So I need to go back to the beginning. I need to check myself and find that love again.
I need to go back to the beginning where it was new and fresh and REMEMBER God’s love for me. I’ve had the opportunity to read Luke along with my friend. I’m seeing things with fresh eyes, reading things in ways I’d never read them before.
In a lot of ways, one a large scale, I’ve gone back to the beginning as well. But it’s not just a large scale thing. Daily, I need to confess my sins and go back to the beginning. And that’s one of the many cool things about God. The old testament tells us that “His mercies are new every morning.” He keeps no record of wrongs and our transgressions are as far removed from us as the east is from the west. He’s buried them in the deepest trench in the deepest ocean. And we get a fresh start.
That’s grace. And I’m so glad we get to go back to the beginning.
Hey God, it’s me. Thanks for the chance to go back to the beginning. Every day or every hour, as much as we need it. As often as I fail to trust you, you’ve already forgiven me. Thank you.